Cherokee Regional Medical Center Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

CML Telephone, Cherokee Regional Medical Center, and Other Local Partners Help the Community Secure $360,000 for Future Projects

Bruce Johnson with CML Telephone and Gary Jordan, CEO of Cherokee Regional Medical Center, recently met to close a USDA Rural Economic Development loan totaling $360,000. This is a unique loan program designed to grant rural communities revolving loan fund (RLF) money after the completion of a local project. CRMC agreed to use the new Cherokee Regional Ambulance Station as the initial project, receiving the funding in the form of a loan to finance a portion of the construction. Selecting a catalyst project such as the Ambulance Station is a requirement by the USDA for the program. When the loan for the Ambulance Station is paid off (which CRMC plans to do soon if they haven’t done so already), funds will not go back to the USDA. Instead, funds will remain in the community for future projects!

The USDA program also requires that a local utility provider sponsor the loan application process. CML Telephone volunteered staff time and effort to be the sponsoring utility, ensuring that the $360,000 was made possible for the Ambulance Station and other projects. Additionally, the granted funds from the program will be added to an existing RLF that is administered by Cherokee Area Economic Development.

Local involvement does not stop there. The USDA requires a 20% cash match from local partners to complete the program. To fulfill this requirement, the following organizations pitched in to meet the $60,000 match: Central Bank ($10,000), Cherokee State Bank ($10,000), State Savings Bank ($2,500), United Bank of Iowa ($5,000), Farmers State Bank ($2,500), and the Cherokee Industrial Corp ($30,000). In 2018, CML Telephone and their telecommunications partner, Aureon contributed $30,000 each to help establish the original RLF for the community using the same USDA program and a similar project with CRMC when they built their new medical clinic on the CRMC campus.

This was a major team effort that would not have been made possible without the contributions of all those involved. Once the original loan is paid off, the total funds in the RLF will be $720,000. Organizations and businesses are welcome to apply for low-interest loans from the RLF to help finance community and business projects. The interest generated from RLF projects will be deposited back into the RLF to help grow the funds. For more information about the RLF, please contact Jana Utesch, Executive Director of Cherokee Area Economic Development:

About the Ripple Effect Program: The USDA application process was authored and administered by the Ripple Effect program. Developed through a partnership alliance between Aureon and Iowa Area Development Group (IADG), the Ripple Effect program helps Independent Telecommunication Companies, and the communities they serve, become catalysts for advancing the economic health and vitality of rural Iowa. Aureon is a premier business solutions provider, with expertise in IT services, consulting, and customer care. For details, please call 888-387-5670.


Pictured l-r: Jennifer Ryen (CRMC), Gary Jordan (CRMC), Bruce Johnson (CML Telephone), Rick Mongan (Cherokee Area Economic Development and Cherokee Industrial Corporation), Jana Utesch (Cherokee Area Economic Development), Ethan Pitt (Iowa Area Development Group), Steven Gardfrey (CRMC), JD Siebert (Aureon).